Love them or hate them, there's always one diamond in the rough.
Being a second child, I got my fair share of hand-me-downs. With seven older girl cousins and one older sister, I was bound to get some "gently worn clothing" soon enough, right? The problem was getting them while they were still in style.
I can remember getting bags full of unwanted clothing every so often. Sometimes it came from my mom's sisters' girls, sometimes my only cousin on my dad's side, and sometimes just friends of my mom's who were looking to get stuff out of their house (so they thought our house was the perfect place to send it).
When I was in elementary school, I was a cheerleader for Halloween three years in a row because I had inherited old Hillcrest cheerleading uniforms from some girls from our church (I guess?) and insisted on being a Cougar cheerleader over...and over...and over again.
Getting sacks of clothes from my cousins on my mom's side was like Christmas morning. I'm not saying that my family was poor by any means, but my cousins were definitely better off in the money area than we were. They had the "real" clothes. The "cool" clothes. The "pricey" brands like J. Crew and Banana Republic. (I didn't even know there was such a thing until later in life.) I was lucky to find a few outfits from those nig black garbage bags.
I remember one time we actually went to my aunt's house and raided her daughters' closets. It was like my own personal shopping spree. I was in fashion heaven.
Later on, when I was in middle school, maybe starting high school, my mom's friend's daughter, who had just finished her rounds for OT school, sent over a load of stuff for me. Just for me! I recall it contained a good amount of khaki shorts and skirts, from J. Crew no less. I was set for life. Or at least until the next year.
The giving went on through college. I had several friends who would just "get bored" with certain items of clothing, and in my own nonchalant, unselfish, non-mooching way, I would just suggest that I take the items off their hands. Score!
However, there was this one time, right after I graduated from undergrad and was starting grad school, a friend (or friend-of-a-friend or acquaitence...whatev) was getting rid of a pair of jeans. She had grown out of them for some reason, weight loss, weight gain, who cares. She gave them to my roommate/best friend and thus I was presented with a pair of "gently worn" jeans which became my new favorite pair of jeans.
The brand was L.E.I., a brand I was familiar with but had never worn before. But oh my, these jeans became a part of me. I wore them everywhere and with everything. They were so comfortable, I would take naps in them. And y'all, Katie does not nap in jeans. Sweatpants, yes. Jeans, no.
Then one day, this friend/acquaitence/friend-of-a-friend...(duh duh duh) ASKED FOR THEM BACK! It seemed that she had lost weight/gained weight and had no other pair of jeans to fit into.
I know what you are thinking...INDIAN GIVER!!!! I know I did. But I, in my humblest and most gracious attitude, obliged and gave them back. But not without a few tears shed first. (But for those who are wondering, I did find a new favorite pair of jeans. American Eagle. Mucho comfortable which we replaced with another pair of the same kind after my dog Randi chewed the crotch out of the original pair. But that's a WHOLE different post.)
In recent years, I've realized what a blessing it is to be the same size as my mom and have such a hip and trendy mom at that. We have our own little hand-me-down system. A little homeland trade, if you will.
It's good stuff.
I've got three sacks of hand-me-downs sitting in my trunk as we speak. I just have to find a good home for them.
I might just take them to Salvation Army or find a women's shelter give them to.